Defenses to Assault Charges in Illinois

Being charged with the offense of assault in Illinois is a serious thing, especially because of how easy it is to be convicted of the crime. Thus, it is crucial that you take an assault charge seriously because the crime of assault carries serious potential penalties. If you are being charged with assault in Illinois, you need to retain a skilled criminal defense attorney. It is crucial that you hire an attorney who can work with you to develop a defense strategy that can help you fight your charges.

The defenses available in assault cases can vary widely depending on the specifics of a case. But the following are some of the most common defenses to assault charges in Illinois.


Self-defense is the most commonly used defense to assault in Illinois and all around the U.S. You can bring up this defense if you only acted to protect yourself or another. Generally, to establish self-defense, you would need to show that;

  • There was a threat of illegal harm or force against you,
  • There was a reasonable fear that you were in danger of harm, 
  • The threat and fear came with no provocation or harm on your part, and
  • There was no easy way of escaping the situation or retreating from the confrontation.

Defense of Others

The defense of “defense of others” works in the same way as the defense of “self-defense,” except that when you bring up the defense of “defense of others,” you are claiming that you acted the way you did to defend another person. In the case of the defense of “defense of others,” you would need to prove that you had reasonable cause to fear that someone else was in danger and you had no other choice but to act the way you did. 

Victim Was Not in Fear of Receiving a Battery

According to Illinois law, assault occurs when someone puts another in fear of receiving a battery. Therefore, if there was no reasonable belief that a battery was about to take place, you can beat the assault charge.

Conditional Threat

A conditional threat is one that threatens harm if the victim behaves or does not behave in a certain manner in the future. If your language represented conditional language that did not express present intent to harm the victim, you might be able to beat your assault charges.

An example of a conditional threat would be a statement like, “If you come near me, I will hit you in the face.” In this example, there is a condition that the victim needs to approach the defendant to make them fear that battery might occur. 


This defense is not used a lot in assault cases, but if you can prove that the victim gave you consent to act the way you did, your assault charges may be dropped. However, you should note that establishing this defense can be challenging, especially because it often comes down to a, she said, he said version of events. 

Contact David Freidberg for Legal Help

David Freidberg represents the interests of Chicago residents who have been charged with serious crimes like assault in the Chicago area. Call today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment, and we can begin preparing your defense immediately. 

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